Last week, George and I watched The Town which I wanted to like more than I did. I found the plot predictable and the characters underdeveloped. The bank robbers are very bad men, though Doug, played by Ben Affleck, has a good heart. James (Jeremy Renner) is a wild card, and things go awry when he breaks the unwritten rules of the bank robbing gang’s code by violently beating a bank employee and then kidnapping the bank’s manager, Claire (Rebecca Hall). F.B.I. Agent Frawley has had enough of the flawless robberies perpetrated by the born-to-crime thieves (a la Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive). Meanwhile, Doug gets close to Claire to ensure she doesn’t have information to provide to the F.B.I. Once he sees her allegiance is to Charlestown rather than the law, he falls in love with her and decides to get out. Despite their criminal genius, the gang fails to realize the threat is not the loyal Claire by the addict and woman scorned, Krista (Blake Lively).
The movie was well-acted and the chase scenes, especially, were fun to watch, but the movie presents a difficult to solve dilemma: how to satisfyingly resolve a plot driven by anti-heroes. It doesn’t take too long to figure out that James’ recklessness will lead to his death either by cop or by his own hand, but I wasn’t sure what would happen to Doug. Would he sacrifice himself, but earn the love of Claire (cf. The Crying Game)? Would he escape (cf. The Shawshank Redemption)? Or would he go down fighting?